Semi Sweets

While business is booming for plows and snow removal companies, many other businesses have been pretty quiet thanks to the weather.

“It’s definitely slower than what it usually is,” said Rachel Hougen, owner of Semi Sweets in the Flint Farmer’s Market.

Hougen sells everything from chocolate covered strawberries to cannolis.

On days like Tuesday, she said people just aren’t venturing out and it’s hard to sell much of anything.

“Valentine’s Day is our busiest time of the year and usually the days leading up to it are very popular as well. But with the weather today it’s been quite slow,” Hougen said.

Hougen said this is how the winter has gone: an ice storm last week, freezing temperatures the week before and weather so bad the farmer’s market had to shut down.

“During the polar vortex we had to shut down for Tuesday and Thursday. It was a lot of value we lost and customers we lost because we just couldn’t be here,” Hougen said.

Hougen said all the frigid weather is costing her.

“And we have a lot of waste because we do a lot of prepping beforehand and then with not being open,” Hougen said.

Across the hall from Hougen is where Tim Bishop sells his hot dogs. He is the owner of B-Dogs Hot Dog Cart.

Bishop said the winter weather is tough, but it will eventually even out.

“I look at it as a year-round thing. I’m sweating in July and I’m super busy. It’s a little trade off, but I do suffer a little bit,” Bishop said.

Bishop and Hougen are both trying to think optimistically with just 36 days until spring.

“Every cold day that we get means that we’re one day closer to spring and a warm day,” Bishop said.

“I hope that maybe from now on we just have a little light snow. Some nice ground cover, not anymore ice. The ice can go,” Hougen said.

Bishop said they depend on business from the local colleges and some of them had a late start on Tuesday because of the weather and that also impacted foot traffic.

The story is no different in Saginaw County.

Mike Bringer, owner of the Bringer Inn in Saginaw, had his revenue cut in half on Tuesday.

He said fewer customers walking through the door because of snowy roads is just part of the problem.

"Besides the slower business, we also have a plow bill, salting that's got to be done later on. And so it's kind of tough for business," Bringer said.

While the Bringer Inn is going through a rough patch, cash is flowing for plow companies like Ultimate Landscaping.

Gabriel Adams, crew member, said he expects to work well into the night.

"It keeps us working in the winter. It keeps money in our pockets. It keeps money in the boss' pocket. It keeps our trucks up to date and everything working smoothly," Adams said.

Adams is hoping these constant rounds of winter weather continue for a while.

"Just keep us working until the spring," Adams said.

Meanwhile, Bringer knows warmer and better days are ahead. This slowdown is something he prepares for every year.

"It's Michigan. We deal with it. We have great months. October, November, part of December, you got to save up because January and February no matter what are slower," Bringer said.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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